Nain man found not guilty of sex­ual as­sault

The Labradorian - - Front Page - BY THOM BARKER

A 28-year-old Nain man has been cleared of all charges in a sex­ual as­sault that al­legedly oc­curred in Jan­uary, 2017.

In a 10-page de­ci­sion is­sued July 11, Jus­tice Frances Knickle of the Supreme Court of New­found­land and Labrador said he was not sat­is­fied be­yond a rea­son­able doubt that Julius Pi­jogge had com­mit­ted either a com­mon as­sault or sex­ual as­sault against the al­leged vic­tim, who can­not be named due to a pub­li­ca­tion ban.

The jus­tice pref­aced his anal­y­sis of the case by cit­ing the 2000 Supreme Court of Canada prece­dent in The Queen v. Robert Den­nis Starr re­gard­ing the stan­dard of proof.

“The stan­dard of proof be­yond a rea­son­able doubt is closer to ab­so­lute cer­tainty than it is to the bal­ance of prob­a­bil­i­ties,” Knickle wrote. “That is, it is not enough to be sat­is­fied that the Ac­cused “prob­a­bly” or “more likely than not” com­mit­ted the of­fences.”

Knickle based the ac­quit­tal on in­con­sis­ten­cies in the com­plainant’s tes­ti­mony. The jus­tice noted that her nar­ra­tive of the al­leged events changed not only be­tween the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing and trial on May 11, but even dur­ing trial be­tween di­rect ex­am­i­na­tion by the Crown and cross-ex­am­i­na­tion by the defence.

In­con­sis­ten­cies aside, the crux of her story was that she and the ac­cused had ended up go­ing drink­ing at her apart­ment where he grabbed her, turned her around, pushed her up against the kitchen counter and at­tempted to pull down her pants. She fought him off, she said, was an­gry at him and even­tu­ally man­aged to kick him out.

For his part, Pi­jogge tes­ti­fied they had been drink­ing at her apart­ment, but that her anger was over him re­fus­ing to get her more beer. He ini­tially said he had not touched her at all, but on cross-ex­am­i­na­tion ad­mit­ted they “did get close, and al­most started kiss­ing” ac­cord­ing to Knickle.

“I do not be­lieve his ev­i­dence,” Knickle wrote. “How­ever, his ex­pla­na­tion that the Com­plainant be­came up­set when he could or would not give her any more beer is plau­si­ble.”

Even though Knickle did not be­lieve Pi­jogge’s tes­ti­mony, the jus­tice said the law is clear that: “…even if the Ac­cused’s ev­i­dence is not be­lieved, if the Court is left with a rea­son­able doubt by the ev­i­dence, then the Ac­cused must be ac­quit­ted.”

Ul­ti­mately the jus­tice said he was “left with a rea­son­able doubt as to what ex­actly hap­pened be­tween the two in­di­vid­u­als.”

He found Pi­jogge not guilty on the sex­ual as­sault and a re­lated charge of breach­ing a pro­ba­tion or­der.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.